Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Costa Rica Adventure - Day 1

[Composed 7/30/2018]

When I talked Shira into taking three children, two of which keep strict kosher and one of which is diabetic, to Costa Rica for a week you can imagine that I did so with Rose Colored Glasses firmly in place. Consider the full day of travel we'd need to get there. Surely the flight J. was on would land in Boston on time, as would our flight from DC. And of course, the 5+ hour flight from Boston to Panama would be easy thanks to entertainment systems on international flights. The kids would plug in and watch movies for the duration, hardly noticing the time fly by. Heck, they'd probably enjoy the flight more than many of the 'adventures' I had planned for them when we arrived.

And everything did go very smoothly. That is, until we arrived at the gate to board the 5 hour flight to Panama.

Our first hitch was that D.'s insulin pump was mysteriously near-empty. Where had the 40'ish units of insulin he was expected to use over the next two days gone? We did quite a bit of planning for D.'s diabetes, but in the first hour, we found a scenario that wasn't in our playbook. As the rest of the passengers boarded the plan, Shira was on the phone with a diabetic nurse getting instructions on how to refill the pump mid-flight. We were the last to board the plane, and as we walked on I quickly realized another assumption of mine was flawed: we were on an older plane that lacked a modern entertainment system. Yes, they'd show a movie this flight, but they'd do so on overhead screens that the kids were too short to see. As if to fully underscore how naive I had been, we sat on the tarmac for an hour waiting to leave.

When we finally got airborne the pilot got on the intercom and explained that we should expect turbulence for "the entire length of the United States." Uh, we were flying from Boston down past Florida, that would be roughly 1,300 miles of bumpy air. Fortunately, the only person bothered by the bumpy air was me; the kids couldn't have cared less. Though it did delay meal service for another couple of hours, as the flight attendants weren't able to get up and deliver food.

The kids managed through the flight without issue. Many a game of iPad chess was played, and D. got some lessons from J. as to how to use the DS. I got some high quality Scratch Jr. time in with J., showing him how to use message passing to have objects in a scene communicate. Once T. and I figured out a way to keep the cards from sliding off our tray tables, we played a number of rounds of crazy 8's. Shira refilled D's pump like a pro.

Of course we landed late in Panama, and were the last to board the 90 minute flight to San Jose. And of course when we arrived in San Jose, one of our 4 bags was missing. The airlines knew where the bag was and would deliver it to La Fortuna the next day, so that wasn't an issue. But Shira and I weren't excited about having spend another 20 minutes waiting and line to fill out paperwork when it was already after 10 pm (after midnight back in the States). Fortunately, the kids managed to hold it together playing in a cleverly crafted luggage fort.

When we finally got to the hotel, and they explained that they didn't have the adjoining rooms we'd arranged for, it almost felt appropriate. Of course the hotel would be part of this everything-must-be-inconvenient travel day.

As we tucked 3 exhausted children into bed on foreign soil, I couldn't help but see the bright side of our rough day. We'd shown that even if things didn't go as planned, we'd be OK. What better way to sharpen our skills then running the gauntlet? Still, as I drifted off to bed, I couldn't help but wish for a day that was just a tad bit less challenging.

1 comment:

  1. Fun. Can't wait to read the rest and learn how much fun everyone had.